Persona is another word for “mask”

Today we’re going to be writing what’s called “persona poems."

Did you know the word "persona" comes from the Latin word meaning mask? Masks are decorative costumes that are made to look like the face of something or someone other than the person wearing it. A mask could be made in the image of a character in a play. A mask can be an animal’s face!

Do you ever pretend you are an animal? What kind? What animal is your favorite?

Today we’re going to make masks of our favorite animal and on the inside of our masks, we’ll write a poem from the perspective of that animal!

Before we make our masks, let’s brainstorm what it would be like to be your favorite animal. There’s no need to write these questions down.

Brainstorm List:

  • What animal are you going to be?
  • Why that animal?
  • What’s your favorite thing about that animal?
  • Discuss 3 things you know about that animal.
  • What does this animal eat?
  • Where does it sleep?
  • Does it have fur, scales, feathers?

If you were this animal, roaming around, what would you be afraid of? What would make you happy? What would you want?

To create our masks we’ll use paper plates (or a piece of paper if you don’t have a paper plate around). On the opposite of your mask plate/paper, fill out the following questions to create your poem!


I am a _________! (name of your animal)
My name is ________ (what is the name of your animal persona? Or, if you were this animal what would your name be?)
I live _________ (where do you live?)
I am friends with_______ (who are your friends?)
I sleep _________ (where do you sleep at night?)
I eat ___________ (what do you eat?)
I want __________ (what do you want?)
I am afraid of ________ (if you were this animal what would you be afraid of?)
But _________ makes me feel better. (what gives you courage/makes you feel better?)
I smile when _______ (what makes you smile?)

To make the mask:

Suggested supplies:

  • Paper plate
  • Tempera or poster paint
  • White glue
  • Scissors
  • Paint brush
  • Wiggle eyes
  • Construction paper
  • Crayons or colored markers
  • Craft stick, pompoms, other decorative materials

Note: this activity is based on the one outlined in this DIY craft article, which includes images.

Step 1. The paper plate will be the animal's head. Think of what you might want to use to decorate the paper plate head.

Step 2. Cut out a pair of ears on a separate piece of construction paper.

Step 3. Position your paper plate front side up. Glue the ears to the top.

Step 4. Also use this construction paper to make additional face features like a trunk for an elephant or a tongue for a lizard!

Step 5.  Paint or use crayons to color your animal face!

Step 6. Remember to include spots or patterns particular to your animal.

Step 7. Create the eyes out of that spare construction paper or out of wiggly eyes or buttons.
Note: also feel free to draw any of these features if all these supplies aren’t available to you! You can create other features like horns out of craft sticks.

Step 8. Add any other details you like that make your animal persona complete.


Your animal mask and persona poem are now complete! As always share with your favorite person—or animal!


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Writing Prompt

Time Frame: 


Required Materials: 

Writing utensils, mask-making supplies (see below)